Archive for the ‘Thoughts and Feelings about Current Issues’ Category

I love watching a good television series. A good television series is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening. The show “The Big Bang Theory” makes me laugh out loud each Monday night. Check it out.

But I also hate television too. It can consume you. If you watch too much it becomes your life. If you watch none you miss out on some pretty cool stuff. It’s not a common sentiment, but television is something I think can be enjoyable in small doses.

Before I came to college I don’t think I really realized how television works. I grew up with a cable box and was therefore stunned to see the free access to channels on my ancient TV with some old bunny ears. My roommates and I used to take turns of who had to hold the metal in the right spot so the bars wouldn’t shift down the screen.

With the dawning of DTV and digital cable,  I can use of my government sponsored TV digital converter box and watch all the basic (and I mean basic) channels for free over the air. It helps me not be consumed but the hundreds of channels available but still allows me to watch the big shows while saving some cash.

The only thing I miss is HBO and those shows like Deadwood, Rome and Big Love. But for those I can always go home and use my Dad’s On Demand cable. I suppose, in all actuality, I’m just really cheap. But what can you expect? I’m in college.

Money saving/life advice: get rid of cable, you realize how much better spent your time is and you have extra cash to go do something instead of watching really dumb reruns…


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Two times in three days, life made me stop.
I was rushing, trying to get to class for my final presentation. I was juggling my bag, my notebook, my bags of candy to give to the class. I was tossing the hair from my eyes , tucking my blouse into my skirt as my high heels clicked on the ground.

I was stressed. I just wanted the presentation over, I wanted the semester over. I wanted college over. It was eating away at my existence. It was making me want to cry. The papers, tests and grades consumed my thoughts.

I got into my car, turned up the country radio that my friends despise and tired to mentally prepare for the presentation ahead. I had on my power suit. If nothing else that should sell them on my business plan. Even if there were gaping holes in the data, I simply didn’t care anymore.

But it was at the end of my street that I saw three orange cones. Another barrier and inconvenience to my day. But I looked again, closer, I saw the road to my right was closed. I could see the flash of lights. Police cars blocked my view of the person, a person I didn’t know, lying on the asphalt. The only three cars on the street were motionless now, the street seemed eerily quiet as I looked down. There was no more traffic, just three broken cars, and a stroller.

I could not tell what happened, only that glass and metal littered the street, but it was bad. There was too much damage for it not to be.

Two days before I had witnessed another accident. I was on the middle of a bridge in my home town. I had never stopped there before, I had only ever been moving through.

I didn’t see it, the accident. I just saw a body across the center line; he was alive, but not moving. It was a motorcycle and a truck. The traffic lined back for miles as I called the police, no one answered. I hung up when I heard the sounds of sirens coming behind me.

People were already crowding around the scene. They knew more than I, I was just in the way. I left, drove on, the stereo turned down.

Two times in three days I have seen life damaged, hurt, splayed on the asphalt. It made me stop. It made me wonder why I was rushing. Who was that person? Those persons? Who wasn’t coming home? Who would care if I didn’t?

It reminded me of a time my freshman year of college. It can be a very difficult year for anyone, but especially me. I used to hate living in the dorm, the noise bothered me and the immaturity suffocated me. When I couldn’t relax I would go out beyond the dorms on walks in the night.

It was there in the quiet stillness of night that I could find peace. I walked amongst the trees and into the fields just to look up and feel small. Alone.

I realized that no one wondered where I was, no one would notice if I didn’t come home; not very many at least. It was then that I wrote this as a Facebook note three years ago when I realized that everything I worried about was for nothing:

I have told every person I’ve met this last month the same relationship advice. Whether it be about lost loves, old flames, new prospects or old memories. Maybe everyone could use this same advice.

You deserve to be with someone who likes you as much as you like them. There is someone out there who will, and you deserve it. Don’t settle.

Let yourself love totally and completely. Do not hold back. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to want to hang out with you; you shouldn’t have to convince someone to love you. They should want to be with you, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that it’s normal to feel neglected.

No matter how much money you make, no matter how much you achieve, if you have no one to go home to, no one to share in every pain and success of life, everything you do in life will have been in vain.

People, not things, are important

 I guess what I’m trying to say is life is precious. It puts things in perspective when you begin to wonder who will be left behind if you were sprawled, hurt and damaged.

Love someone and when they love you in return, you will have the most precious gift you can receive.

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Today Chrysler (a part of GMAC automakers) announced it would become another in the long line of businesses to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We could be sympathetic; tough times and all. But I’m not too sad (or surprised) to see Chrysler go.

I know I’m a hypocrite. I like my share of country boys in Chevy trucks, but the U.S. automaker simply isn’t ready to compete in this global economy.

They can’t make a profit. And no matter what anyone tells you that’s the reason people get into business, it’s for the money. (Even non profits have to make money, or they won’t last too long).

GM (and Chevy) was at the top of the world 50 years ago. They were the cars America drove. We took pride in it. Insert Japanese automakers like Honda and Toyota. They made it better, faster and more cost efficient. Suddenly buying American seemed rather silly. After all, the Japanese cars lasted longer and were cheaper. They also got great gas mileage in the high price gas years in the 80’s. (Sounds familiar? No one is rushing to buy a Yukon these days either).

GM and other domestic car makers took notice. But sadly, it was too late. Built on the unions that define Detroit automakers, the cost to build a Chevy car is too much to sustain competition against other automakers. The competitors had the advantage of non unionized labor, a common platform, less distributors and part manufacturers and the fact that they don’t have to pay pension plans for retirees.

Here is a really good article about the failures of GM as a company and the mistakes of management: http://chrissilvey.com/weblog/?p=112

From the Article:

It takes GM almost 35 hours to build car, and Toyota only takes 27 hours

GM makes a profit of $20,000 per car while Toyota makes $26,000 per car

According to the article GM was actually losing money per car in 2004.

Can you see the competitive advantage of foreign automakers? And a lack of a good business plan for the U.S. car makers?

GM’s business plan would never get approved today. You would get laughed out of the office. They simply cannot sustain growth. This insistence of huge salaries, health care and pensions plans was built on the arrogance of American society that preached: we will never fail, we can spend as we like, we are Americans after all.

But there is always a cost.

You cannot spend the money on domestic labor, pensions, health care and other costs and expect to compete with a global competition that has no qualms with cheap labor, efficient factories and non-unionized manufacturing.

Chrysler, I like your trucks, but the world will continue without you. Honestly I think the American people need to realize that just because something is American, doesn’t mean it’s good. To compete globally we must understand the cost of manufacturing and what is best for the company.

I’m all for jobs in the U.S. but I believe U.S. automakers and the American people are to blame for their failure. They pushed unions, pensions and health care on a system that could not sustain it. They did so because they believed (falsely) in the superiority of American products. It was faith misguided.

For me, I’m not going to buy American. I’m going to buy the best. Sadly, American hasn’t been the best for a long time. Hopefully we can learn from this and realize our mistakes. If Chevy doesn’t die for good, it will only happen again. For its own sake, I hope their gas guzzler has finally run out of gas.   

Great Article: http://chrissilvey.com/weblog/?p=112

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What if my best isn’t good enough? 

We talk a lot about vocation, or our “calling,” at my university.

They sent me pamphlets, leaflets and videos encouraging me to spend thousands of dollars to come to their school because they were the experts in developing my passion. It’s their specialty. It’s not about education; it’s about finding your vocation. They desperately want to help me find this illusive dream, a dream I can work towards with purpose for the rest of my life.

Essentially we have three vocation options at my university: Help people the poor, promote peace and community or ultimate Frisbee.

Sadly I haven’t had an inspiration in these categories. But I already know what I love to do. The problem is that although I love it, I’m not very good.

When we are young our parents and teachers look at us and tell us, “you can do anything if you try hard enough.”

With these words of wisdom we head out into the world, optimistic about the possibilities of the future. Unfortunately there is a harsh reality. The truth is trying hard isn’t always enough. Sometimes you just fail. Effort points don’t exist in the real world.

I love writing. I always have (it’s my vocation, per se).I used to write stories about dogs hatching from eggs and giants. My imagination was ceaseless. Someday I wanted to be a writer (I also wanted to be a waitress, but that is, perhaps, a lesser known vocation).

But unfortunately, I’m not very good at it. Yes, my friends will tell you that I’m a good writer, a good student and very intelligent. But they don’t get the true picture.

There are people who are just naturally brilliant. They don’t need to study or stress; they just can grasp the world easier than others. I am not one of those people. I’m one of those persons that work way too hard for reasons that no one understands. I study too much and stay in too often.

I get awards sometimes, for writing. I don’t deserve these awards, I’m just the only one that applies, or maybe the only one that tries at all. Again, the absence of certain social life aspects gives me a plentitude of study time.

I won a prize for feature writing in high school. I was named the Washington State High School Journalist of the Year.

But I failed the standardized test in writing to get into community college for Running Start.

I have written a 90,000 word book (it was rejected by the first publisher).

But I cannot spell very simple words. Like necessary or believe or receive or guarantee. (I actually misspelled grammar in this very post, ironically)

I fail at writing. I receive poor grades on papers. I use too many commas. I also have many comma splices. I don’t know what these are, so I continue failing. 

My first mistake in middle school was thinking that creativity trumped structure. Wrong. If a middle school teacher gives you a rubric, you write to fit what they want. Paint by number to get a grade.

This is how to get a good grade. Forget thinking, forget adapting. No, sentence by sentence they want what they want. Forget about starting with anything other than a topic sentence, follow with support, close with a conclusion use a transition, repeat.

Mistake number two was thinking college would be different. Also I hoped once I knew the rules I could break them. That was mistake number three.

But there have been successes. Even though the books are telling me I cannot do it, there have been shining lights of promise. I remember them all.

In seventh grade my teacher wrote on my short story “one of, if not the best.”

In eighth grade my teacher told me I was good at writing.

In high school my teacher said my work was good, but it must take me a long time to write.

They called me “the closer” in newspaper class, I did everyone else’s work to get it done, and done well.

In college my creative writing teacher, a published writer, asked me to come to her office and she told me I was a writer. She told me I wasn’t silly to write a book. She said that I could succeed.

So I haven’t failed, not really. I told my friend recently that the only way to know if you truly want something badly enough is give it the test:

If everyone you know tells you it’s not a good idea, that you shouldn’t do something and you believe in it enough to do it anyway, you should. That’s when you know: When you love something enough to fail, that is passion.

I may fail at tests, I wouldn’t get past the second round of a fourth grade spelling bee, and I may hate writing with proper grammar and structure. But I love writing enough that I can’t stop. Even if I fail. Even if my best isn’t good enough.

Because it’s good enough for me.

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